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Firing Up The Eclipse Erlide Plugin

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

To help me learn and practice writing source code in Erlang, I downloaded and installed the “Erlide” plugin for the Eclipse-Helios IDE. The figure below displays a snapshot of Eclipse with the default Erlang perspective opened up. The set of Erlang specific views that are displayed within the default perspective are: the editor, navigator, process list, and live expressions views. Each Erlang specific view is annotated with this kool little Erlide logo:

As you can see, the editor is showing the content of the “hello.erl” source code file, which contains the definition of the “hello/0” function. The console view at the bottom of the screen shows the result of manually typing in “hello:hello().“, which runs the program on the version 5.8.2 Erlang virtual machine (VM). Upon completion, the VM did what it was told. It printed, duh, : “Hello World!”.

The complete list of Erlide views available to aspiring Erlang programmers is shown below. Since I’m a newbie to the land of Erlang, I have no freakin’ idea what they do yet.

With the aid of the supplied eclipse Erlide help module (see below), I was easily able to configure and link the IDE to my previously downloaded and installed distribution of the Erlang VM.

The snapshot below shows the configurability options offered up by Erlide via the eclipse “Preferences” window. I won’t go into the details here, but the “Installed runtimes” option is where you connect up Erlide with your installed Erlang VM(s).

So, C++ programmers, what are you waiting for? Download the latest Erlang distro, the Erlide eclipse plugin (you do use eclipse, right?), buy a good Erlang book, and start exploring this powerful and relatively weird programming language.

Oh, and thanks to the great programmers who designed, wrote, and tested the Erlide Eclipse plugin – most likely on their own time. You guys and gals rock!

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